Highlights In Today's Reading:
Ephraim quarrels with Jephthah and then there are six years of peace with him as a judge. Three more judges appear in the 10th, 11th, and 12th chapters. There is a very important reason that we should recognize how their lives and decisions apply to us. The 7th servitude is to the Philistines and the Lord raises up Samson.
The Israelites were oppressed by the Philistines for 40 years. The reason is given: The children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years (13:1). During that time, Samson was born. Unlike Jephthah, Samson had a godly mother and father who desired that their son be fully dedicated to the Lord (13:3-21). The Angel of the Lord said unto the woman (Samson's mother). . . . No rasor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite (one who is dedicated) unto God from the womb (13:3-5).
The Spirit of God came upon Samson and began to move (stir) him (13:25). Eventually, Samson ruled as a judge. As a Nazarite and the judge of Israel, Samson was meant to be an example of loyal commitment to God before all Israel such as Samuel. However, nothing is said about Samson seeking to lead the people to turn to the Lord and worship Him only. Early in life, we see his disregard for his holy calling. His first recorded act of unfaithfulness was "friendship" with the Philistine woman, an enemy of God.
Samson fell far short of fulfilling his calling to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines (13:5). His life was filled with failure because of his self-centered desires that ruled his life from the time he was a young man. He . . . told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife (14:2). For, at that time, the Philistines had dominion over Israel (14:4). The life of Samson is typical of many who become distracted by worldly pleasures and fail to carry out the will of God. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-16).
Christ alone gives our lives value and meaning as He makes us a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (II Cor. 5:17). Only in the measure in which we allow Christ to guide our lives daily shall we be able to truly fulfill His will. This is possible because our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin (Rom. 6:6).
Thought for Today:
Let us allow the same Spirit that stirred many in the past stir us to fulfill the will of God in our lives. Only by knowing the Word of God can we know the will of God.
By Samson, who, as a Nazarite, was to be consecrated to God from the womb (birth) to the day of his death (Judg. 13:7). Jesus was also set apart and consecrated to God from the womb to the day of His death on the cross. Unlike Samson, who failed God, Jesus totally fulfilled the plan of God as He said He would do when He left heaven saying: Lo, I come . . . to do Thy will, O God (Heb. 10:7).
12:5 took the passages of Jordan =seized the fiords; 12:6 frame =enunciate, pronounce; 13:6 very terrible =very awesome; 13:18 secret =wonderful beyond understanding; 14:4 occasion against =opportunity to destroy, but once again Samson became sidetracked; 14:12 sheets =linen robes, shawls; 14:13 declare =solve; 14:16 hate =have no love; 14:17 lay sore upon =persisted; 14:19 expounded =solved.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Letha Hash • Staff: Bernice Rathbone • Country: Fiji (813,000) in the southwestern Pacific • Major languages: English and Fijian • Religious freedom • 41% Hindu; 40% Protestant; 9% Roman Catholic; 8% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Ask according to the will of God in the Name of Jesus and you will receive (John 16:24).
Optional Reading: John 18
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:44